Former Syracuse University center and fan favorite Rakeem Christmas made the Indiana Pacers’ 15-man roster over the weekend.
Christmas played one game with the Pacers last season, and spent most of the year in the D-League with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. In Fort Wayne, he averaged 13.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, which was good enough to make the D-League’s East All-Star team.
At Syracuse, Christmas averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in his senior season. He was drafted by the Timberwolves with the 36th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, but was traded to the Cavaliers on draft day and then late traded again to the Pacers.
Making the active roster is still far from playing. NBA teams can have 15 players on the roster, but only 12 get to wear the uniform every night. Plus, the Pacers already have depth at the positions in the middle. You can assume Al Horford, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner, Kevin Seraphin and Georges Niang are all above Christmas in the pecking order. Christmas is at the bottom of the food chain, which is what comes with being a 25-year old second round pick. There’s less room for error for him, but at least he’s still got his name in the hat.
The Pacers start their season Wednesday against the Mavericks in Indianapolis. On Friday, they’ll play the Nets and the only other player drafted out of Cuse in 2015: Chris McCullough.